I went to a midnight screening last night.
The theater was absolutely PACKED.
The movie was showing in nine theaters - SEVEN of those showings were sold out by the time I ordered my tickets, and the one I ended up going to was about 80-90% full.
So I knew the fanboys were going to be out in force (the blue Mustang with the "JEDI" vanity plate that I saw in the parking lot was my first clue).
But honest to God, entering the lobby was like walking into a goddamn comic book convention.
It seemed like half the people there were wearing costumes.
I almost felt like a schmuck for not wearing clown makeup...almost.
Still, I felt like a bit of a fanboy myself.
I'd been waiting to see this movie for over a year.
The rational part of me kept saying "Now, now - curb your enthusiasm just a LITTLE bit, BBQ. You won't be disappointed and you'll enjoy it more if you do."
But it was to no avail - deep down, I knew that this was going to be the greatest thing to happen to movies since they added sound.
I sat down in the theater a good 45 minutes before midnight, fully ready for this movie to make me its beeyatch.
And boy, did it ever.
I think I can safely say without any hint of exaggeration that I want to bear this movie's child.
All the buildup, all the hype - it was all justified.
Anyone who thinks that the Oscar buzz surrounding Heath Ledger is just shameless hype and exploitation of his tragic death can prepare to eat their words.
Because they were NOT EFFING LYING.
Dear God, Heath Ledger was spectacular.
He was captivating from the moment he was introduced - but to me, the scene with the "magic trick" was the part where he really seemed to "arrive."
I never really paid much attention to his career before, but after watching him in this movie, I already miss the hell out of him.
I have no idea how they're going to replace him (if that is what they intend to do).
Make no mistake - the Joker as he appears in TDK is the true, definitive version of the character.
THIS is who the Joker really is - I just didn't know it until last night.
From now on, when people think of the Joker, they will think of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
All other portrayals of him - whether it be Jack Nicholson in the original Batman
, Cesar Romero in the TV series, or Mark Hammill in TAS (which up to this point had been my favorite) - simply pale by comparison.
The reason is simple - the others seemed to stay within predictable boundaries (although to be fair, the limits on content in Saturday Morning cartoons came into play in Hammill's case).
This Joker doesn't play by any rules - he has no boundaries or qualms whatsoever.
That's what makes him so scary.
Of course, there's much more to this movie than just his amazing performance.
The ensemble cast turns in great performances all around (seriously, why the hell hasn't Christian Bale even been NOMINATED for an Oscar yet?), and Christopher Nolan's direction is superb.
And the storyline is superbly dramatic, compelling, and intense, managing to be both uplifting and profoundly tragic at the same time.
I really liked the way the film kept building momentum as the story progressed, getting better and better with every minute.
And it has a lot to say as well (but I don't want to spoil anything by revealing any of the themes to you - the movie does it way better than I could).
Really, together with Batman Begins
, it just makes other superhero movies look downright silly by comparison.
I have but two complaints about my experience.
First, there were about elevnty jillion trailers in front of the movie.
While I understand why the various studios would want this kind of advertising space (since gol 'darnit near everybody in the country is going to see this movie), I found it pretty irritating that I had to sit through 20 minutes of trailers (and ...ugh
On the plus side, most of them were for movies I look forward to seeing (the new Bond movie, Watchmen
, and Terminator 4
, which I refuse to refer to by the godawful title they've saddled it with
Second, the film burned out with about an hour left to go.
Fortunately, they had it up and running in about five minutes, and everyone in the theater got a free pass for a movie of their choice for their troubles.
All in all, it was an awesome experience.
If you haven't seen it, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?
Stop what you're doing and SEE IT NOW!!!
See it TWICE!!!
See it FIVE TIMES!!!!!!
Despite the orgasmic levels of praise I have lavished upon this movie, I would still recommend you to follow my stupid, boring old brain's advice if at all possible.
Try not to get TOO worked up over it.
it's just a movie, not the second coming of Christ...even if does come close.